Updated: Apr 24, 2019
A life without brain tumour is what everyone will opt for if given a choice. I'm no exception, I was having this choice until October 24th 2018 when my life had to deal with one of the most difficult challenges in the form of 4.5 cms Brain Tumour on my right side of the brain.
Now then, lets look back at my life that was tumour free. I am one of those luck ones who lived my life the way I wanted and I'm sure I made many people jealous with the way I did it. I had a regret free lifestyle throughout and was able to do things that most people would think twice. eg. changing jobs when I wasn't enjoying it anymore as easily as if it was like changing a worn out old pair of shoes! My confidence was beyond sky high always and I never doubted my abilities and nothing really fazed me so much.
I used to plan many things meticulously way in advance of its time and also I am little obsessed in perfecting things (there is no scientific evidence to link over-thinking brain and brain tumour, so don't worry & keep your brains active). I worked hard in the way that I wanted to be an example to my peers or my subordinates. I wanted to set high standards for myself and never settled for anything that was less than 100% effort from me. This gave me my own identity, character and I was easily a standout when it comes to work performance. But this comes at a price that I was constantly under self-pressure and trying to satisfy my own ego to perform at my best. So when I achieved something good at work or a personal milestone, I felt top of the world and felt everything was under "My Control".
Control - We all want this is in some form or the other in whatever we do. No one can deny the fact that they are a control freak in something. It can be simple as controlling your appetite to eat ice creams or trying to control your kids from screaming in your ears when you are in a conference call.
I tried to control everything that was in front of me, my work, my family, my body etc. Yes, I used to be regular at gym at least 3 days a week working out to keep fit and build muscles. I was not obsessed of body building but I wanted to have a decent shape of my body and age slightly slowly or to look better than compared to my own age group. I did achieve great results in this and I felt things are in My Control again.
With all these controls, I felt great about myself, but there was something going through inside me which I wasn't aware of. STRESS. Yes, its the silent "nuke" inside everyone of us and we don't even think a second or two about this monster.
From my post tumour "wisdom", I understand Stress is one of many factors that increases chances of having any chronic disease starting from Stomach Ulcer to Cancer. So to not deal with Stress is like having a time-bomb in your house and sitting inside the house quietly letting the bomb go off and cause disaster!
I did lot of stuff in my off time which made me feel happy like Watching / playing Cricket, holidaying (I did a lot of it, more on that later!), Movies and Partying. I should mention Partying as first in the list, since I did a lot of it with my family and friends. What was initially a get-together party turned in to Binge drinking/eating nights. This made me feel happier after a "busy" (in fact stressful) week of work and also gave me chance to laugh with my friends. But this slowly changed my Binge drinking habit to borderline alcoholic. I wanted to wind down my evening with a glass or two of whisky in the week days. At that time it all seemed fine and within the allowed freedom but I now realise that it was due to the time-bomb called "stress".
I stopped drinking for more than a year now (well before my tumour diagnosis) and I can easily see what was pushing me to the brink of alcoholism. It was the stress from work and my constant self-pressure to achieve "The Best" in everything!
About my holidays, this is probably the best thing I ever did in my entire life so far and what also makes me feel better during the most dark days of my life living with a deadly tumour. It all started as a trip to "Paris" to celebrate my 30th birthday back in 2013. My son was 11 months old then and he was an angel to carry around everywhere. Little did I knew that time I would visit as many as 13 countries in the next 6 years. Yes, the "travel bug" caught me hold strongly and I made a decision to travel whenever possible and take break from work life to enjoy the life what it is meant for and not save the money. I coined a new phrase in my head "memories are worth than millions"
So just to give a quick idea of how much I have travelled (gathered memories), here is the list
June, 2013 - Paris (France)
Oct, 2014 - Rome, Venice & Pisa (Italy)
December, 2014 - Sharm-el Sheik & Cairo (Egypt)
March 2015 - Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane (Australia)
Aug 2015 - Dubai Dec 2015 - Kualalumpur (Malaysia)
June 2016 - Jaipur, Agra & Delhi (India)
Mar 2017 - Bangkok, Phuket & Krabi (Thailand)
Aug 2017 - Maldives & Srilanka
Apr 2018 - Albufeira (Portugal)
Aug 2018 - New York, Washington, Florida & Toronto (US & Canda)
Some souvenirs that I collected from this travel...
Now the above list is the "treasure of my life". No matter whether my tumour beats me or I beat the crap out of it, my memories of spending all that time with my family and enjoying those beautiful trips will stand out.
How much I miss travelling is something only I can feel and its matter of time before I add another country to the list above.
Tumour or not, I am who I am. I am here to "Conquer" and not just "Surrender" !!